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Should you buy Olympic tickets to guarantee a Japan holiday in 2021?

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Loyalty Lobby had an interesting article yesterday about travelling to Japan in 2021.

When the World Cup was held in Russia in 2018, ticket holders were allowed to travel to the country (during the tournament and for the rest of 2018) without a visa.

With coronavirus still likely to be an issue in July and August, it is possible than Japan will continue to ban foreign tourism except for people holding tickets for olympic and paralympic events.

The official UK seller of olympic tickets is only offering flight, hotel and ticket packages. However, UK residents can purchase stand-alone paralympic tickets – from just £11 – via Nirvana. Nirvana is the official authorised paralympic ticket seller for the UK.

There is no guarantee that buying an £11 paralympic ticket will let you magically walk into Japan when all other tourists are banned but it is a low cost gamble. Flights and hotels should also be easier to find during the paralympics (24th August to 5th September) than during the main games (23rd July to 8th August).

Remember that redeeming Virgin Points for ANA flights is easily the best value and most comfortable way of getting to Tokyo.

Comments (58)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Damien says:

    I got over 55k last year. Should I have been offered my choice of gift, or was that suspended for 2020?

    • Phillip says:

      I got offered my choice benefit back in May when I hit 55k.

      • Damien says:

        I just hit it on the 23rd December. So right up to the wire.

        • Peter K says:

          You should have your Spire choice available. It’s easier to find on the app than the website but it should be there.

      • Anna says:


      • Damien says:

        Just checked. I see the unclaimed benefit now. Just took the 25K.

        However, my spire target is definitely showing as 75K this year.

        • Matty says:

          I can’t find it in the app. Any pointers?

          • luckyjim says:

            I just found it on the main site. Go into your account details then, on the bottom left you should see your Sprire Elite Status. Click on ‘explore your benefits’. If you are eligible you will see an option to claim 25,000 points. Or you could gift Platinum Status to a friend but I wouldn’t bother with that.

        • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

          Mine definitely states55k

    • Rob says:

      If you mean status points and not total points it will be showing in your account.

      • Matty says:

        Found everything now. Had to log in on the desktop to find the 25000 points.

  • Jon says:

    It would be so nice if the Sign In link on the IHG web site actually worked (viewing on iPad – and don’t get me started on how it goes on iPhone 😉 e.g. cookies pop-up with Submit button that can’t be accessed…). When (oh when oh when oh when etc) will IHG get a grip on their IT? Useless.

    • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

      I had this problem for weeks. I couldn’t sign in on the house WiFi either on PC, iPad or phone, but if I Used the phone or hot spotted the iPad to phone on 4g…I could sign in……bizarre.

    • Alan says:

      Weird, works fine on desktop and Android for me (both Chrome).

  • josh says:

    I still cant figure out why any frequent would want even IHG spire elite.:)
    For me the breakfast for 2 and suite upgrades at the other majors is a no brainer. or am i missing something?

    • Damien says:

      Get if free with credit card spend, also was able to use the CC free night at the IC Maldives last year (know its supposed to be capped, but it worked in November there).

      BTW, IC Maldives was very good. Club benefits for anyone staying there. Found the reef to be really good for snorkelling.

      • Peter K says:

        The UK free credit card night is not capped, it’s the US one that is.

      • Benilyn says:

        Mate that is awesome, I have 6 nights (4x free nights, 2x points, all through the IHG CC) booked there for Q4 this year! Do you have any idea if it is worth getting Ambassador membership before I go, I guess mainly in regards to getting a room upgrade?

        • QFFlyer says:

          If they’re in ICs they yes, definitely. IHG Rewards Club is weak, but Amb benefits are pretty good (not as good as they used to be, and they can be dishonoured with 10k compensation, but still good).

          My experiences have been pretty good in terms of the early/late check in/out and room upgrades, plus the $25 F&B credit per stay on its own offsets the cost (as does the weekend night certificate).

    • ChrisC says:

      I use IHG because in the two places I mostly visit their hotels are closer to where I want to be and generally cheaper than e.g. Hilton.

      A ‘free’ breakfast isn’t going to change those two factors for me to switch allegiance.


      • TGLoyalty says:

        Find Indigo is the best chain in most UK cities outside London.

        • ChrisC says:

          I’ve stayed in the Manchester one a couple of times when IHG had one of their promos and it was worth staying there for a night to help reach the ‘stay in 3 brands for a shed load of bonus points’ target.

          Good location next to Victoria Station and minutes walk from the Arndale.

    • BP says:

      I use IHG mainly because the points are easy to generate via the card, stays and promos. There’s 1-2 properties that work for my work travel.

      I like the chain. Yes Marriott has more aspirational properties but for me Marriot points are harder to come by so I stick with IHG. Hilton I use on occasion when the rate is right.

  • southlondonphil says:

    As noted on the chat thread yesterday, my online IHG account page shows under the heading “2021 Track to Elite Status” a target of 55,000 points/55 Nights to reach Spire.

    That said, I am an Ambassador member too so perhaps this is an undisclosed Ambassador benefit and ‘regular’ Plats will need to “go the long way round”?

    Alternatively, unlike Rob, my Surname is at the tail end of the alphabet and IHG’s hamster-wheel IT hasn’t got round to adjusting the points requirement back up just yet! 🙂

    • John says:

      The unofficial benefit is that you remain spire for as

    • ChrisC says:

      IIRC I became Plat with I bought AMB, because as you know it’s one of the benefits, but had to earn the rest of the nights / points to take me over the line to get Spire.

      My surname starts with ‘C’ and I still have a mismatch between the app and web versions!

    • Chas says:

      My surname starts with an A, and both the app and website are showing 55k for me to get Spire. I’m currently Platinum Ambassador

  • Phillip says:

    I can confirm that both Spire Ambassador and Spire Elite accounts I manage have a 55k target.

  • John says:

    Long as you maintain ambassador even with 0 nights

  • jil says:

    both app and online show 55k requirements for spire elite for me

  • Simon D says:

    Perhaps it would be better if Paralympic tickets were bought by people who wished to attend the Paralympic games?

    • tony says:

      That’s a fair comment. I was going to suggest that the Paralymics rarely sell out and the tickets involved here would be on the very fringes but a quick search suggests they expected full capacity last year, which would be even better than they did in London.

      • memesweeper says:

        If a cheap paralympic ticket gets you into Japan when other visitors can’t, the least you can do is show up and wave an appropriate flag, even if it is a sport you’re not too interested in.

        ANA redemption availability from London to Tokyo during August is predictably very thin at the front of the plane.

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Can imagine the confusion among the competitors when half the people on here turn up and start waving the Flag of Europe?

        • tony says:

          “the least you can do is show up and wave an appropriate flag”

          I think the issue is the inference that if you have any olympic ticket you will be able to travel to Japan in the summer. The already eye-watering hotel prices of Tokyo are even more so when the games are in session, so you could buy the ticket to facilitate the visa and never go anywhere near the events themselves.

          This is of specific interest to me as we’re supposed to be in Japan for the first two weeks of August, but not arriving in Tokyo until the end of the trip.

        • Doommonger says:

          Don’t worry, availability will free up when the Olympics are postponed again

          • meta says:

            Although Hilton Tokyo is now at 49k for standard king room when the cash prices are 110k yen in early August.

    • SydneySwan says:

      Completely agree. It shouldn’t be used to circumvent travel restrictions.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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